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CSz BackStage with Damon Mitchell

Damon Mitchell performing improv on stage.

© Malerie Anderson

This is the third installment in our series, "CSz BackStage", where we ask players from ComedySportz® Richmond to tell us a little about themselves and their outlook on improv.

What do you do when you’re in a rut? One day you look around and realize that although you’re doing all the right things for a successful existence, something is missing. For Damon Mitchell, the answer was improv.

The league system at CSz forms a sort of guild structure. Many come to the minor leagues as amateurs from the Adult 101/201 classes. Damon joined the Minor League in April 2016 after completing the Winter Adult 101 class. He started his apprenticeship as part of the Minor League 2 team. He quickly excelled and in September 2017 he was selected to join the elite Major League roster.

How do you normally spend your time, when not improvising with CSz?

Exercising, TV & movies, and hanging with friends and family.

Are there any specific memories that stand out from classes or workshops?

Many, but the most impactful was the first night of Adult 101 when everybody expressed why they were there. I happened to go first and really told the deep truth and let myself be vulnerable and I think everybody felt relaxed and did the same. We shared more that day with each other and were more vulnerable in that minute with each other than most of us have been with some family members. A bond was formed that night for sure.

Why improv?

I did a lot of high school theater competitions but gave it up after high school so the stage was something I always had an affinity for, but the main reason I actually did it was depression and reading a 10 best things to do if life has you down or you feel stuck in a rut. Number 1 was take an improv class!!

What is one important thing that you have learned from improv?

To “try” (try because I have far from mastered it) but to embrace and accept failure. . .so much that you fail BIG!

What are your FIVE favorite things about CSz Richmond? Why?

The people, the education in improv, the teachers and the giving nature they all exhibit, the location and lastly the special events.

What has been your favorite memory as an improviser, so far?

I have a few, but they all center around getting lost in a character . . . being totally in the moment.

What are your FIVE favorite games? Why?

I am still so horrible with names but Advice Panel, Oscar Winning Moment, Fairy Tale Countdown, Cwazy Qwest, anything that is very character driven.

What is your improve superpower?

I think I do my best work when I am playing a specific character like in advice panel. If I was proud of anything, it would be my characters that I do.

With whom would you most like to perform improv (anyone, dead or alive)? Why?

Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles. I think they seem like the absolute most fun! Eddie Murphy would probably be amazing too.

What is the most absurd thing that has happened while you were on stage? (that you will admit to?)

This was at practice, but I was trying to exit a scene and tripped; may have put a small hole in the drywall … might have. I caught myself, so it was not terribly painful but just enough to … maybe make a small hole.

What advice do you have for all the improve newbies out there?

Embrace the process and concept that failure is fine. Failing is way less important than whether you actually try or not.

Who would you like to see profiled?

Christine Walters

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